Art and LiteratureMichael J. Hamilburg
(82) Beverly Hills literary agent who helped to shepherd writing by Vincent Bugliosi, Jim Morrison, Paul Schrader, Jackie Robinson, and others into film and print. Hamilburg ran the Mitchell J. Hamilburg Agency, a company his father started in the ‘30s with a diverse client list that included Gene Autry, Deanna Durbin, and Captain Kangaroo. Like his father, the younger Hamilburg also worked on film projects, including Billionaire Boys Club, Taxi Driver,
and coproduced Sydney Pollack’s The Yakuza.
He died of Parkinson's disease in Los Angeles, California on January 1, 2016.Ellsworth Kelly
(92) painter, sculptor, and printmaker whose work over 70 years made him one of America's leading abstract artists. In the years after World War II, Kelly shaped a distinctive style of American painting by combining the solid shapes and brilliant colors of European abstraction with forms distilled from everyday life. In recent years the artist had been suffering from lung ailments. He died in Spencertown, New York on December 27, 2015.Richard Sapper
(83) German-born industrial designer whose precision-engineered prototypes spawned the Alessi espresso maker, the Tizio lamp, and the IBM ThinkPad. Sapper also designed for Mercedes, Fiat, and Pirelli and invented teakettles that whistled in two keys, emulating an American locomotive. He was especially revered by coffee connoisseurs for his stovetop Coban 9090 espresso maker (shown above), a graceful stainless-steel, single-piece machine introduced in 1979 by Alessi, the Italian housewares manufacturer; the machine revolutionized home espresso-making. Sapper died of cancer in Milan, Italy on December 31, 2015.Eugenie Schwartz
(64) artist who found renown in her native New Orleans for her surreal, darkly humorous creations. Schwartz made impish pieces; one (shown above) involves a cheese grater equipped with red velvet and spiky teeth to make a coffin for a cast bronze mouse. She died in New Orleans, Louisiana of complications from surgery for a perforated ulcer, on December 30, 2015.
Business and ScienceJohn Angelo
(74) cofounder of Angelo Gordon & Co. who helped to build it into an investment firm that manages $26 billion in assets. Angelo and Michael Gordon founded Angelo Gordon in 1988, focusing on distressed debt investing, real estate, credit, and other alternative assets. Since 2007 Angelo had also been a director of the auction house Sotheby’s. He died of cancer on January 1, 2016.Ruby Cavanaugh
(93) woman whose love for ‘40s music and culture inspired her son Doug to create a chain of diners in her name. The first Ruby's Diner opened in 1982, serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and malts on Balboa Island, Calif. The restaurant had a red and white interior, ‘40s memorabilia, and photos of Ruby Cavanaugh. The chain now has 35 locations in five states. Ruby Cavanaugh enjoyed greeting customers at the restaurants; on her 93rd birthday last July, she visited the chain's Corona del Mar location, where she was welcomed with cheers from fans. She died in Tustin, California on December 27, 2015.Robert DeKruif
(96) longtime associate of Los Angeles finance tycoon and philanthropist Howard Ahmanson Sr. DeKruif came up as an insurance salesman with H. F. Ahmanson & Co. and rose to become a board member and executive. Through its subsidiary Home Savings of America, H. F. Ahmanson became one of southern California's biggest lenders and one of the nation's largest savings and loans, financing home buyers who rushed to the region during the postwar boom. DeKruif died on December 30, 2015.Gina DePalma
(49) pastry chef whose simple Italian desserts helped to make Babbo in Greenwich Village one of Manhattan’s most beloved and admired restaurants. In her 2007 cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen,
DePalma credited her mother and grandmother, Italian immigrants from Calabria, for teaching her not only how to cook but also how to think about food. She died of ovarian cancer in the Bronx, New York on December 29, 2015.Larry Gordon
(76) surfer who helped to turn surfing into a mainstream sport with the foam boards he created at his California company. Gordon was a chemistry student at San Diego State University in the late ‘50s when he started experimenting with foam materials at his father's plastics factory and shaping boards in his friend and fellow surfer Floyd Smith's garage. The polyurethane foam that Gordon and Smith used to build their boards was lighter and easier to ride, making surfing more accessible and helping to drive its popularity across the globe. By the ‘60s, Gordon & Smith Surfboards became a leading manufacturer in the surf industry. Gordon died of Parkinson's disease in San Diego, California on January 1, 2016.Edward Hugh
(67) British economist who gave early warnings about the European debt crisis from his adopted home in Barcelona. Hugh drew attention in 2009–10 for his blog posts pointing out flaws at the root of Europe’s ambition to bind together disparate cultures and economies with a single currency, the euro. He insisted time and again that economists and policy makers were glossing over the extent to which swift austerity measures in countries like Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal would result in devastating recessions. His insights soon attracted a wide and influential following, including hedge funds, economists, finance ministers, and analysts at the International Monetary Fund. Hugh died of cancer of the gallbladder and liver on his 67th birthday in Girona, Spain, on December 29, 2015.Carl Izzo
(90) father of Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo. Carl Izzo worked at Tony Izzo & Sons, a business that repaired shoes, according to a 2008 story in the Grand Rapids Press.
The business also installed carpets and awnings. Tony Izzo & Sons also employed the future basketball coach from sixth grade through his sophomore year at Northern Michigan University. Carl Izzo died in Appleton, Wisconsin on December 28, 2015.Joseph Massaro Jr.
(79) Pittsburgh construction magnate and civic leader whose wife created an Alzheimer's charity after he developed the disease. Massaro’s company, Massaro Corp., built dozens of Pittsburgh-area schools and office and medical buildings. Massaro also was president of the Pittsburgh Opera and served on the boards of La Roche College, the Riverview School District, St. Anthony School for Exceptional Children, and Pittsburgh's Central Catholic High School, his alma mater. He transferred the company to his children in 2005 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in ’07. His wife, Carol Massaro, founded the Joseph A. Massaro Alzheimer's Research Fund at the Pittsburgh Foundation in 2011 and said it has raised $500,000. Joseph Massaro died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 30, 2015.Sidney W. Mintz
(93) cultural anthropologist who linked Britain’s insatiable sweet tooth with slavery, capitalism, and imperialism. Mintz was often described as the father of food anthropology, a mantle bestowed on him after the critical and popular success of his 1985 book, Sweetness & Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History.
He died of a severe head injury from a fall, in Plainsboro, New Jersey on December 27, 2015.Harold Parichan
(92) California almond farmer who spent sleepless nights worrying about the bullet train. Parichan bemoaned the fate of his prized almond orchards in Madera County, which would be sliced diagonally by the future tracks for the $68-billion project. Disabled since polio struck him in the ‘20s, Parichan overcame many obstacles, attending UC Berkeley and Stanford University law school on crutches and braces. But the bullet train, fought by many farmers from Merced to Bakersfield and now more than two years behind schedule, became one of the biggest emotional challenges in his life. He died of influenza in Fresno, California on December 30, 2015.
(72) Michigan-born linguist who helped to bring the study of creole and pidgin languages into the scholarly mainstream. While hitchhiking through Mexico and Central America as a teenager, Holm heard black Nicaraguans along the Caribbean coast speaking a non-Spanish language that seemed oddly familiar; they called it “pirate English,” a reference to its probable origin as a pidgin spoken on pirate and British Navy ships. Holm could barely understand what he was hearing, but it planted the seed for what became his life’s work: the study of creole and pidgin languages spoken by millions of people around the world, especially the English-derived creoles of the Caribbean. After compiling the first dictionary of Bahamian English, Holm produced a landmark study, the two-volume Pidgins & Creoles,
which traced the sociohistorical evolution of pidgins and creoles, explained their structures, and described more than 100 varieties. He died of prostate cancer in Azeitão, Portugal on December 28, 2015.Allen Lacy
(80) gardening columnist whose cramped backyard inspired practical advice on down-to-earth subjects like expunging crab grass and cerebrations about far-flung fields like global warming. A philosophy professor, Lacy sowed his wit and wisdom in columns for the New York Times
and the Wall Street Journal
and wrote or edited 10 books on gardening. He died of complications from heart and kidney disease in Linwood,
New Jersey on December 27, 2015.
News and EntertainmentBillie Allen
(90) actress who appeared on and off-Broadway when New York theater was not especially welcoming to black performers. Allen was one of the first black performers with a recurring role on a network series, helping to integrate TV by making frequent appearances on The Phil Silvers Show
in the ‘50s, the CBS military comedy that starred comedian Silvers as scheming Sergeant Bilko. She also was in demand for TV ads, appearing in commercials for Pampers diapers and cleaning products like Rinso and Tide in the ‘60s. She died in New York City on December 29, 2015.John ('Brad') Bradbury
(62) drummer with the British band Specials. Bradbury joined the band in 1979 and played with it when it reformed in 2008. He died in England on December 28, 2015.Rick Cluchey
(82) former inmate who was in his third year of a life sentence without parole for car jacking and armed robbery when actors came to San Quentin State Prison in 1957 to perform Irish playwright Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
The existential play changed Cluchey's life, inspiring the creation of a drama workshop at San Quentin. He joined the new theater troupe and from his cell started writing plays. The first was The Cage,
a prison drama that prompted then-Gov Pat Brown to commute Cluchey’s sentence to allow parole and his eventual release in 1966. He became a leading interpreter of Beckett’s work and spent most of his career traveling the world to perform in his plays. Cluchey died of emphysema, congestive heart failure, and chronic lung disease in Culver City, California on December 28, 2015.Natalie Cole
(65) daughter of jazz legend Nat (“King”) Cole (d. 1965) who carved out her own success with rhythm and blues hits like “Our Love” and “This Will Be” before combining their legacies to make his “Unforgettable” their signature hit through technological wizardry. While Natalie was a Grammy winner in her own right, she had her greatest success in 1991 when she rerecorded her father’s classic hits—with his voice on the track—for the album Unforgettable ... with Love.
It became a multiplatinum smash and won her multiple Grammy Awards, including album of the year. Natalie had battled heroin, crack cocaine, and alcohol addiction for many years and spent six months in rehab in 1983. In 2008 she was diagnosed with hepatitis C and later suffered kidney failure, for which she underwent a kidney transplant in '09. She died in Los Angeles, California of complications from ongoing health issues, on December 31, 2015.Robert Flick
(84) NBC news correspondent who escaped from the infamous Jonestown massacre in Guyana on November 18, 1978. More than 900 Americans died in the mass murder-suicide of Jim Jones's followers, including US Congressman Leo Ryan (D-Calif.). Flick was struck on the head covering riots in Watts and Berkeley in the ‘60s and covered the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst and the seizure of a school bus full of children and a driver in Chowchilla, Calif. in 1976. He was later a producer of Entertainment Tonight.
He died in Pasadena, California after suffering a head injury in a fall, on December 31, 2015.Alan S. Gordon
(70) union leader who represented singers, dancers, and stage managers at many of the nation’s leading opera and ballet companies—and sometimes used unconventional, theatrical tactics on their behalf. As executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, Gordon represented chorus members, soloists, dancers, choreographers, and production personnel at major companies across the country, from the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet to the San Francisco Opera and Ballet. He died in New Hampshire after a stroke and from complications of multiple system atrophy, a rare neurological disorder, on January 1, 2016.Beth Howland
(74) Broadway and TV actress best known for her role as a ditzy waitress on the ‘70s and '80s CBS sitcom Alice.
Born in Boston, at age 16 Howland landed a role on Broadway alongside Dick van Dyke in the musical Bye Bye Birdie.
CBS later noticed her on stage in the 1970 production of Stephen Sondheim's Company
and brought her to Hollywood for a bit part on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Small roles on The Love Boat
and Little House on the Prairie
followed before she was cast as Vera Louise Gorman on Alice,
a comedy set in an Arizona greasy spoon diner based on the 1974 Martin Scorcese film, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.
Howland earned four Golden Globe nominations during the comedy's 1976–85 run for her performance as the naive Vera. She died of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California on December 31, 2015.Kitty Kallen
(94) World War II-era singer who turned out hits like “Bésame Mucho,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “In the Chapel in the Moonlight,” and “Little Things Mean a Lot”—many reaching the Top 10. Kallen sang with many of her era’s top bandleaders—Artie Shaw, Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden—and outlasted them. Her last hit, “My Coloring Book,” was in 1962. She died in Cuernavaca, Mexico on December 31, 2015.Gilbert E. Kaplan
(74) financial publisher of Institutional Investor,
a monthly magazine for pension fund and asset managers. Kaplan had an accidental second career as an international symphony conductor—despite the fact that he could scarcely read music and had a concert repertoire of exactly one piece: Mahler's Second Symphony, which calls for an orchestra of more than 100, a vast choir, choral soloists, multiple harps, a pipe organ, and additional offstage percussion and brass; its five movements span some 90 minutes. That work propelled Kaplan onto the podiums of some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Louis Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic. He died of cancer in New York City on January 1, 2016.Ian Fraser ('Lemmy') Kilmister
(70) heavy-metal singer and bassist who led the loud and fast British rock band Motörhead for decades. Kilmister founded the band in 1975 and continued recording and touring with it until his death from cancer, just two days after diagnosis, in Los Angeles, California on December 28, 2015.Rusty Paul
(74) archivist and filmmaker who promoted the legacy of his father, guitarist Les Paul (d. 2009). Rusty Paul for years shared a home and production facility in Mahwah, New Jersey with his father and videotaped many of his performances. He gave talks about his guitar-innovator father and organized an exhibit at the Mahwah Museum. Rusty Paul died in New Jersey of complications related to diabetes, on December 31, 2015.Wayne Rogers
(82) actor whose Trapper John McIntyre on M*A*S*H
was among the most beloved characters on one of the most popular TV shows of all time. As Army surgeon Trapper John, Rogers swapped wisecracks with his partner in martinis and mischief, Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda. Rogers was on the show for just the first three (1972–75) of its 11 seasons, but his run, and his character, are especially revered by show devotees. An Alabama native and a Princeton graduate, Rogers played roles on many short-lived shows before M*A*S*H,
specializing in westerns like Law of the Plainsman
and Stagecoach West.
He spent his later years as a money manager and investor and was a regular panelist on the Fox Business News stock investment show Cashin’ In.
Rogers died of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California on December 31, 2015.Stanley Siegel
(79) fearless and sometimes tasteless New York TV talk-show host whose unscripted interviews combined Jack Paar’s candor with Oscar Wilde’s credo that nothing succeeds like excess. The Stanley Siegel Show
was broadcast live at 9 a.m. on weekdays on WABC from a studio in the former grand ballroom of the Hotel des Artistes on the West Side of Manhattan. Its ratings rose meteorically after its premiere in 1975, but it fizzled after only five years, having failed to gain exposure beyond metropolitan New York. Siegel died of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California on January 2, 2016.Murray Weissman
(90) veteran Hollywood publicist who worked on Oscar campaigns for such films as Dances with Wolves
and Shakespeare in Love.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Weissman worked as a publicist for ABC and CBS, then moved to movies in the mid-‘60s and oversaw Universal's release of Jaws
in 1973. He began specializing in awards campaigns in the ‘90s, representing dozens of best-picture Oscar contenders along with hit TV shows such as Breaking Bad
and Mad Men.
He died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California on December 28, 2015.Haskell Wexler
(93) one of Hollywood's most famous and honored cinematographers whose innovative approach helped him to win Oscars for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
and the Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory.
Wexler died in his sleep in Santa Monica, California on December 27, 2015.Vilmos Zsigmond
(85) cinematographer best known for The Deer Hunter
and Close Encounters of the Third Kind,
for which he won a 1978 Oscar for best cinematography. Hungarian-born Zsigmond helped to define cinema’s American New Wave in the ‘70s through iconic collaborations and a preference for natural light. He first gained renown for his collaboration with Robert Altman on the classics McCabe & Mrs. Miller
and The Long Goodbye.
He died in Big Sur, California on January 1, 2016.
Politics and MilitaryDale Bumpers
(90) former Arkansas governor and US senator who earned the nickname “giant killer” for taking down incumbents. In 1999 Bumpers gave a passionate speech defending Bill Clinton during the president's impeachment trial. He was a little-known lawyer from Charleston (population in 1950: 968) when he ran for the Democrat gubernatorial nomination in 1970 against a field that included former Gov. Orval Faubus. After finishing second in the primary, Bumpers defeated Faubus for the Democrat nomination—then beat Republican incumbent Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller in the general election. In 1974 Bumpers challenged and defeated incumbent Sen. J. William Fulbright in a Democrat primary and later won his US Senate seat. He died in Little Rock, Arkansas of complications from a broken hip suffered in a recent fall, on January 1, 2016.George M. Elsey
(97) one of the last survivors of the inner sanctums of the White House during and immediately after World War II. Elsey was a naval officer assigned to the White House Map Room who delivered top-secret messages to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's living quarters. When the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan in 1945, Elsey decoded the news and took it to President Harry S. Truman. He wrote policy papers and speeches for Truman, including many delivered on the celebrated “whistle-stop” campaign that led to Truman’s come-from-behind election victory in 1948. Elsey even found time to redesign the presidential flag, and did all that in his 20s and 30s. He died in Tustin, California on December 30, 2015.Charles Kuperus
(57) former New Jersey secretary of agriculture. Kuperus served on the Sussex County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Farm Bureau, and the State Planning Commission. He was named agriculture secretary in 2002 by Gov. James McGreevey and served until ‘08, overseeing the preservation of more than 1,100 farms and 85,000 acres of farmland throughout the state. Raised on a family dairy farm, he founded Kuperus Farmside Gardens in 1979. He died of cancer in Sussex, New Jersey on December 30, 2015.Gisela Mota
(33) newly elected mayor of Temixco, a city south of Mexico's capital. Mota was shot to death less than a day after taking office. Gunmen opened fire on her at her home in Temixco, in Morelos state. Two presumed assailants were killed and three others detained after a pursuit. The suspects fired on federal police and soldiers from a vehicle. Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez attributed Mota’s killing to organized crime without citing a particular drug cartel or gang. Cartels seeking to control communities and towns have often targeted local officials and mayors in Mexico. Mota was assassinated on January 1, 2016.Mike Oxley
(71) former US congressman (R-Ohio) who helped to write landmark antifraud legislation after a wave of corporate scandals that brought down Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. Oxley left Congress in 2007 after 25 years in the House, where he devoted most of his time to issues involving corporate oversight and insurance protection. He died in his sleep in McLean, Virginia after suffering from nonsmall cell lung cancer, a type of lung cancer seen in nonsmokers, on January 1, 2016.Kim Yang Gon
(73) North Korea's top official in charge of relations with South Korea. Kim was head of the United Front Department at the ruling Workers' Party. He was killed in a traffic accident in North Korea, potentially dimming the prospect for ties between the rival countries, on December 29, 2015.
Society and ReligionWoody Hochswender
(64) reporter who covered the fashion industry for the New York Times
(1988–92) and later wrote popular books on practicing Buddhism in everyday life, as he did. Hochswender wrote The Buddha in Your Mirror: Practical Buddhism & the Search for Self
(2001) with Greg Martin and Ted Morino. In 2006, as sole author, he followed up with The Buddha in Your Rearview Mirror: A Guide to Practicing Buddhism in Modern Life.
He died of a brain tumor in Sharon, Connecticut on December 31, 2015.
(85) defensive lineman who earned induction into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. Atkins was a four-time all-NFL selection who made eight Pro Bowl appearances during a 17-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, and New Orleans Saints. His 6-foot-8 frame created major matchup problems for opponents. He died in Knoxville, Tennessee on December 30, 2015.Mike Cleary
(81) longtime National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics executive officer. Cleary served the NACDA for 50 years as executive director and most recently as director emeritus. He was on the National Football Foundation's board of directors from 1998–2011 and won the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award in ‘94. He died in Cleveland, Ohio on December 31, 2015.Howard Davis Jr.
(59) boxer from Long Island, New York who in 1976 won an Olympic gold medal and the Val Barker Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding Olympic fighter, over his teammates and fellow gold medalists Michael and Leon Spinks and Sugar Ray Leonard. A lightweight for most of his career with a blistering left jab, Davis was only 20 at the 1976 Games in Montreal. He had more than 100 wins as an amateur. As a professional he had a string of victories but lost a 1980 lightweight title bout against Jim Watt and, unlike the other ‘76 gold medalists, never won a world title. He retired from boxing in 1996 with a professional record of 36-6-1 with 14 knockouts. He died of lung cancer on December 30, 2015.Stein Eriksen
(88) director of skiing at Utah's Deer Valley Resort for more than 35 years. Eriksen had the perfect hair, the perfect form on the hill, and the perfect line down the course. Stylish and graceful on the slopes—he could even perform impressive tricks—the Norwegian great helped to usher in modern skiing. Eriksen rose to prominence at the 1952 Winter Olympics in his hometown of Oslo when he captured gold in the giant slalom and silver in the slalom. In 1954 he won three gold medals at the world championships in Are, Sweden. His somersaults were epic—and an early prelude to the tricks in freestyle skiing. He died in Park City, Utah on December 27, 2015.Dave Henderson
(57) former major league outfielder who hit one of the most famous home runs in postseason history. Henderson was best known for his home run in the 1986 American League Championship Series for Boston. With the Red Sox one strike from elimination in Game 5, he hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth against the California Angels to send the series back to Boston. The Red Sox won Games 6 and 7 to advance to the World Series. Henderson had a kidney transplant in late October. He died of a massive heart attack in Seattle, Washington on December 27, 2015.Meadowlark Lemon
(83) “clown prince” of basketball's barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters, whose blend of hook shots and humor brought joy to millions of fans around the world. Although skilled enough to play professionally, Lemon instead wanted to entertain. His dream of playing for the Globetrotters hatched after watching a newsreel of the all-black team at a movie house when he was 11. He ended up becoming arguably the team's most popular player, a showman known as much for his confetti-in-the-water-bucket routine and slapstick comedy as his half-court hook shots and no-look, behind-the-back passes. As a sign of his crossover appeal, Lemon was inducted into both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Clown Hall of Fame. He died in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 27, 2015.Frank Malzone
(85) Boston Red Sox's all-time leader among third baseman with homers and runs batted in. A member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame since 1995, Malzone played in Boston for 11 seasons from 1955–65. He hit 131 homers with 716 RBIs during that stretch, the most of any third baseman in club history. The six-time All-Star finished his career in 1966 with the California Angels. He died in Needham, Massachusetts on December 29, 2015.Don Riley
(92) former St. Paul sportswriter who spent more than 40 years writing a widely read column in the city's newspapers. Riley wrote “The Eye Opener” column and covered boxing in a newspaper career that spanned 44 years from 1943–87. He died of a heart ailment in Maplewood, Minnesota on December 31, 2015.Previous Week
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